ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Toys aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the days of building blocks and wooden trains; today’s toys actually talk to you and let you respond back. But research is showing that these innovative devices may affect how parents interact with their babies.
In recent years, toys have gone high-tech! But a new study shows that all those automated, interactive, and electronically enhanced gadgets may not be as good for your baby’s development as the old-fashioned ones. Scientists examined parents and their two-year-olds as they played with either a traditional shape sorter toy or one that was enhanced with sounds, songs, and voices. They found that parents used higher-quality language and more spatial words, like “triangle” or “over,” when they played with traditional toys compared to electronic toys. The parents who used electronic toys repeated the same phrases over and over, such as “push the button,” and relied more on the toy to talk to their child.
Research shows that high-quality parent interaction plays a crucial role in supporting children’s learning and development. This study suggests that non-electronic toys may be the better bet for babies.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Dave Harrison, Editor.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Research Citation: Zosh, J.M., Verdine, B., Filipowicz, A. Golinkoff, R.M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Newcombe, N. (2015). Talking shape: Parental language with electronic vs. traditional shape sorters. Mind, Brain, and Education, 9, 136-144. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mbe.12082.